Can CoolSculpting Help You Reach Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Making major lifestyle changes is hard, no matter when you try to make them. New Year’s resolutions are, however, particularly daunting for most of us: Not only are we usually attempting to make several big changes at once after New Year’s, we’re doing so during a dark, cold time of year when motivation is at an all-time low. Understandably, many people, therefore, start looking to alternative solutions, like CoolSculpting, to help them meet their objectives. CoolSculpting uses a non-surgical process called “cryolipolysis” to destroy fat cells, so it automatically appeals to people who hope to lose weight after the holidays. Still, before you contact us to book a CoolSculpting consultation, there are a few things you’ll need to know about this procedure:

Fat Loss Vs. Weight Loss

Numerous studies have shown that CoolSculpting can destroy up to 25% of fat cells in treated areas—an impressive figure for a procedure that doesn’t require a single incision. Nonetheless, there’s a limit on how much actual weight a person can lose via body contouring: Even surgical procedures like liposuction can only remove five to ten pounds of fat at a time. (Removing more than this could cause complications.) Most people who have CoolSculpting lose about three pounds after all of their treatment sessions are complete.

While that doesn’t sound like a substantial change, it’s important to realize that fat distribution plays a significant role in how we look. A person who has a flabby-looking stomach or a double chin is going to appear heavy, even if they’re a healthy weight. By getting rid of these deposits of stubborn diet-resistant fat, CoolSculpting can make a person look 15-20 pounds lighter than he or she did before treatment. This striking cosmetic difference is why CoolSculpting has a patient satisfaction rate of between 85-90%.

Furthermore, though CoolSculpting can’t replace conventional weight loss, it can do something diet and exercise can’t do: Actually destroy fat cells. When we lose weight naturally, our fat cells shrink, but they don’t go away. This leaves us prone to retaining (and regaining) weight in any areas where fat cells are especially dense. CoolSculpting, by contrast, permanently reduces the density of fat cells in treated areas, so those areas will always be proportionally slimmer—even if you gain back a bit of the weight you’ve lost.

How to Use CoolSculpting to Reach Your New Year’s Resolutions

Now that you know what CoolSculpting can (and can’t) do, there are several steps you should take to effectively integrate this procedure into your post-holiday weight loss plan:

 

  1. Make slimming down enough to have CoolSculpting your first weight loss goal.

 

Before you book your first CoolSculpting appointment, you should try to lose most of your “holiday weight” through traditional methods like diet and exercise. We recommend getting within about 20 pounds your final goal weight before you start your cryolipolysis sessions.

 

  1. Identify your “problem areas.”

 

Once you’ve gotten close to your ideal weight, you’ll be able to assess which parts of your body aren’t responding well to diet and exercise. Make a list of any problem areas you want to sculpt and bring it to your consultation. Knowing that it’s possible to correct these areas will make achieving your resolutions feel realistic, a key factor for staying on track.

 

  1. Use your CoolSculpting results to help you stay motivated.

Research shows that when people obtain the body they want (rather than being stuck with areas of stubborn fat), they’re more motivated to stay in shape. Take pictures of the areas you’re having treated with CoolSculpting before your first appointment and every two weeks thereafter. As you watch your problem areas become visibly slimmer and more toned, you’ll feel empowered to keep pursuing your goals.

If you think CoolSculpting might be right for you, feel free to contact us for more information on how this procedure permanently destroys stubborn fat. We’ll be happy to help you learn more about this safe, convenient non-surgical treatment.

 

 

 

 

Liposuction and Lipedema

Liposuction, like many plastic surgery procedures, has important medical uses. Liposuction can help patients with a condition called lipedema finding long-lasting relief from the physical and emotional discomfort associated with their illness. If you or someone you know is struggling with lipedema, our board-certified plastic surgeons can guide you on the path towards recovery.

What is Lipedema?

Lipedema is a poorly-understood condition that causes severe, chronic problems with fat distribution and fluid retention. This disease, which primarily affects women, creates disproportionately large deposits of fat on the lower limbs and buttocks, even if the affected woman is otherwise slim. This buildup of fat is not caused by lifestyle factors (like dietary choices) and it does not respond to conventional weight loss methods. Liposuction is the only effective treatment for lipedema.

The fat distribution issues caused by lipedema should not be confused with normal variations in body shape, i.e., having a “pear-shaped” figure. Women with lipedema have extreme proportions; it’s not uncommon for a woman with this condition to have a ten-size difference between her upper and lower halves (such as wearing a size 6 top and size 16 pants). Furthermore, unlike normal fatty deposits, the fat stores created by lipedema frequently cause pain and swelling. If untreated, lipedema can lead to mobility issues, including disability. Lipedema can also be disfiguring; it’s not unusual for lipedemic fatty deposits to clump together and harden, creating visible lumps under the skin.

How Liposuction Treats Lipedema

Noninvasive treatments, like compression stockings, pain medication, and lymphatic massage, are often used by physicians to manage lipedema. However, while these treatments can ease some of the discomfort associated with lipedema, they cannot slow the buildup of fat that invariably accompanies this progressive disease. Liposuction, by contrast, permanently removes problematic fatty deposits. Fat cells that are removed via liposuction will not grow back on their own, so in many cases, liposuction can halt the progression of lipedema.

Liposuction has been shown to greatly reduce pain and mobility issues in patients with lipedema, too: According to a study of 25 patients who received liposuction for lipedema, spontaneous pain flare-ups, sensitivity to pressure, and susceptibility to swelling and bruising all greatly decreased following surgical treatment. Meanwhile, patients reported experiencing significant mobility and quality of life gains. (Liposuction in the Treatment of Lipedema: A Longitudinal Study, Archives of Plastic Surgery, 2014)

How is Liposuction Performed?

During liposuction, a thin tube called a cannula is inserted below the skin. Our doctors then irrigate targeted fatty deposits with a special solution in order to liquefy fat cells and make them easier to remove. This solution contains a local anesthetic that greatly reduces postoperative soreness, along with other compounds designed to limit bleeding and swelling. Once fat is ready for removal, it’s sucked out through the cannula. Liposuction does not require the creation of large incisions, so it rarely causes any visible scarring. It also has a very low rate of complications.

Getting Help for Lipedema

Many women with lipedema are not diagnosed until their condition becomes disabling or disfiguring, which makes treatment more challenging. If you suspect you have lipedema, we recommend arranging a liposuction consultation with our doctors; they’ll help you assess your symptoms and recommend the best course of action. With our help, freedom from the pain and distress of lipedema is possible.

 

 

Why is a Mini Facelift Suitable for Younger Patients?

Facelift surgery is considered the “gold standard” in facial rejuvenation for a reason: It can treat even the most advanced signs of aging, and it produces elegant, natural results that last for ten or more years. Facelift surgery is, however, a complex operation that’s intended for older patients who have obvious loose face and neck skin. Patients under the age of 45 seldom need the extensive alterations offered by this procedure because the skin below their jawline and around their eyes is still fairly firm. That’s why we offer what is known as a “mini” facelift here at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg; this procedure is ideally suited to younger patients who have only just started to notice visible signs of aging.

Understanding the Early Stages of Aging

Though collagen loss begins fairly early in life (the rate of collagen production drops by about 1% per year after age 30), it takes a while for skin to become stretched to the point of visible looseness. Most people don’t experience sagging eyelids, hanging neck skin, and other signs of severe skin laxity until they reach about 55-60 years of age. During the early stages of the aging process, most visible aging is caused by changes in the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS).

The SMAS plays a crucial role in supporting facial skin, the connective tissues below the skin, and the fat pads that give shape to the face. As the SMAS drops, as it does during our 40s, fat pads slide downwards, creating hollows around our eyes and under our cheeks. Sometimes, fat pads on the lower face form jowls and a double chin as they descend into the submental area. The weight of these fat pads can also make creases and folds of loose skin appear more prominent.

How Can a Mini Facelift Help?

The mini facelift is designed to treat just SMAS sagging, thereby reversing undesirable changes while keeping scarring and recovery time to a minimum. To perform a mini facelift, our surgeons make two small S-shaped incisions behind each ear. Through these incisions, they can access and lift the SMAS. This raises fat pads, restoring youthful facial contours, and minimizes the appearance of loose skin.

Mini facelift surgery usually only takes two hours to complete, and most patients recover from this procedure within just one week. Better still, mini facelift surgery produces subtle results that look natural on younger faces. Because no loose skin is removed during this procedure, your skin won’t look “tight” after having a mini facelift.

For best results, we recommend combining mini facelift surgery with one or more injectable treatments. Injectable treatments can target areas of the face not treated by mini facelift surgery, like the brow, lips, and nasolabial folds. BOTOX® injections can relax the muscles around the temples, smoothing out forehead lines and crow’s feet. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, are used to fill in creases and add volume to the lips and cheeks. Injectables don’t require any additional downtime, so they’re perfect for younger patients who have a demanding work schedule or active family life.

To learn more about these treatments and how they can help you manage the early signs of aging, just contact our practice; we’ll be happy to arrange a one-on-one consultation for you.

 

 

 

Last Minute Spa Treatments for All Your Holiday Events

We all want to look our best during the holidays—after all, more social events occur in December and January than at any other time of the year. Unfortunately, that same hustle and bustle make taking time out to pamper ourselves next to impossible. Few people can fit cosmetic surgery before the holidays, and even taking a full day out to visit the spa can be challenging. That’s why we offer several “lunchtime procedures” here at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg. These non-surgical treatments can make a big difference in how you look, without impacting your busy schedule.

4 Quick and Easy Holiday Spa Treatments

1. Vampire Facials and Facelifts

If you’re looking for a refreshing and rejuvenating facial treatment before the holidays, vampire facial procedures may be right for you. While the name seems intimidating, these treatments utilize PRP (platelet-rich plasma) to encourage cell turnover and help the skin look renewed and youthful. Vampire facials utilize PRP in addition to microneedling, which allows for deep penetration of the PRP serum and improved collagen production by creating microscopic perforations that heal quickly. If you choose a vampire facelift, you can benefit from the plumping and lifting effect of a variety of dermal fillers with the use of PRP to improve the skin’s tone and texture. The result is vibrant skin that no longer looks hollow or drooping. Your procedure is customized to address specific areas of concern.

The vampire facelift does not require downtime for recovery. While the skin may appear slightly red after a vampire facial treatment, any residual side effects will quickly dissipate so you can enjoy the holiday season looking your best.

2. The Fraxel Laser

During Fraxel laser treatment, our doctors use a specialized medical laser to abrade the top layers of the skin gently. This removes damaged and highly pigmented skin cells while speeding up the rate of cellular renewal and boosting collagen production. Fraxel laser treatment is, therefore, a great way to get rid of fine lines, age spots, acne and acne scars. It will also make your skin firmer, smoother, and younger-looking throughout a few treatments.

Unlike a chemical peel, laser skin rejuvenation won’t cause your skin to peel or flake. You’ll be able to resume all your normal activities on the same day you have this procedure, making it an ideal last-minute spa treatment.

3. BOTOX®

Though most people have heard of BOTOX®, few realize how no-fuss this injectable treatment really is: Most BOTOX® appointments take just 15 minutes to complete, you won’t have to rest afterward, and this compound rarely causes any side effects. At the same time, BOTOX® is powerful enough to erase forehead lines and crow’s feet.

4. Paraffin Wax Treatment

One of the first things most of us notice when the weather turns cold is painfully cracked, dry skin on our hands and feet. At Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg, we use paraffin wax submersion to treat this dryness while soothing raw skin effectively. Paraffin wax is a powerful emollient – it coats the skin and traps moisture, so it doesn’t evaporate. Paraffin wax treatment is also a great way to heal damaged cuticles, ease joint pain, and increase circulation.

The holidays will be here soon, so if you’re interested in having a few last-minute spa treatments, you should contact us to arrange a consultation. We’ll help you pick the best low-maintenance treatments to meet your needs.

 

 

Is a Mini Facelift Right for You?

The facelift is a popular plastic surgery procedure for patients who are concerned about sagging skin around the lower face. However, for patients whose concerns are not too serious, a more minimally invasive treatment like the mini facelift may be a better procedure to consider. Read our infographic below to find out if the mini facelift is right for you.

If you’re interested in a mini facelift, contact us today.

Is it Time for a Facelift?

When you look in the mirror, do you feel like your reflection doesn’t reflect the way you feel inside? It may be time for a facelift. A facelift can lift the sagging skin around the lower face, resulting in a more youthful appearance. Read our infographic below to find out if it’s time for you to undergo facelift surgery.

If you’re interested in a facelift, contact us today.

Most Commonly Requested Liposuction Areas

Liposuction is as versatile as it is effective: This convenient, low-risk procedure can permanently remove unwanted fat from almost anywhere on the body. Liposuction is the best way to contour small areas, too; the thin cannulas used during this procedure can shape even the fingers, toes, ankles, and knees. Most non-surgical fat removal devices are too large to be used similarly.

If you’re considering having diet-resistant fat removed, it’s useful to know the most commonly requested liposuction sites. Having this information will help you work with our surgeons to develop a comprehensive body sculpting plan that meets all your objectives.

The 6 Areas Most Commonly Treated by Liposuction

1. The Abdomen

Unsurprisingly, the upper and lower abdomen are two of the most popular liposuction sites. Liposuction can quickly and permanently eliminate up to ten pounds of belly fat. Keep in mind, however, that this procedure is not meant to serve as a substitute for lifestyle changes. Removing more than ten pounds of fat at a time can cause surgical complications, so it’s not possible to use this procedure as a treatment for central obesity.

Eligible candidates use liposuction to treat age-related fat centralization or inherited fat distribution problems. Mothers also turn to liposuction to get rid of the lower belly “pouch” that often develops after pregnancy.

2. The Breasts

Both men and women can benefit from liposuction’s ability to contour the chest. Men frequently use liposuction to treat gynecomastia (enlarged male breasts). Women may use it to correct breast asymmetry or decrease the size of their breasts slightly (more dramatic reductions in breast size can only be achieved using breast reduction surgery). Some women also use liposuction to get rid of the small pocket of fat that sometimes exists between the breasts and the armpits. Removing this fat can reduce irritation while wearing a bra and make clothes drape in a more flattering way.

3. The Area Under the Chin

Though non-surgical treatments for submental fat exist, they don’t produce results as quickly as liposuction. They can also cause more localized irritation for some patients. Liposuction is therefore still the treatment of choice for most patients who wish to get rid of a double chin.

5. The Thighs

Some women have what’s known as an accentuated “pear-shaped” figure: Their upper body is very lean, while their thighs and buttocks retain stubborn bulges of fat. Liposuction can be used to slim the lower body, giving these women more balanced proportions.

6. The Upper Arms

High estrogen levels tend to increase the amount of fat that’s stored on the arms, as well as increasing breast size. Unfortunately, natural or not, this extra arm fat can make a woman look heavier and less toned than she actually is. Having arm liposuction can improve visible muscle tone and decrease upper body mass at the same time.

To learn more about how liposuction can be used to sculpt a shapelier body, contact PSSF to arrange a consultation. Our surgeons will be happy to answer any questions you have about this procedure.

 

 

Cooler Weather & Lasers: The Perfect Combination

When we think of autumn, we conjure up images of colorful leaves, pumpkins, fresh corn, and frosty nights. Rarely do we think about the effects of colder weather on our skin. Luckily, our skincare experts always have your best interest in mind and recommend adding something else to your picture of the perfect fall: Lasers. Autumn is the ideal time of year to give laser skin resurfacing a try, for all of the following reasons:

1. Protecting Your Skin from Sun Damage will be Easier During the Fall

Laser skin resurfacing makes the skin temporarily more sensitive to sun damage—A side effect that’s much more difficult to work around during the summer months. In the fall, you’ll be able to benefit from the reduction of UVB rays that occurs as the earth tilts away from the sun (provided you live at a higher latitude). You’ll also be able to use the shorter days to your advantage by engaging in outdoor activities after the sun has set.

Just be aware that the lack of UVB radiation doesn’t mean you can skip sun protection altogether: We’re exposed to UVA radiation all year long, so you’ll still need to use sunscreen and cover up after having a laser skin treatment in the fall. You just won’t have to worry about damage occurring as easily with mild to moderate sun exposure.

2. You’ll be Able to “Reset” Your Skin After Summer

Even if you’re a disciplined sunscreen user, it’s not uncommon for some degree of sun damage to occur over the summer months. Consumer-grade sunscreens are not always as effective as they should be (up to 40% of drugstore brands don’t live up to their advertised SPF value), leaving our skin more vulnerable than we realize. Likewise, sunscreen may wash or rub off when we swim or exercise.

Even mild sun damage heavily contributes to the formation of new wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and areas of flaky or rough skin. If you start seeing more of these problems during the fall, it’s not your imagination playing tricks on you: You’ve sustained some degree of UV damage over the summer, but our Fraxel laser can help. By gently dissolving the uppermost layer of the epidermis (where most UV damage occurs), Fraxel laser treatment can erase many of the signs of photoaging. Laser skin treatments also increase collagen production, making the skin firmer, smoother, and stronger.

3. Your Skin Will be Glowing by Christmas

Having several laser treatments in succession can produce striking results, taking up to five years off the appearance of your skin. However, these treatments need to be spaced several weeks apart in order to give your skin a chance to regenerate between each session. Starting laser treatment in the fall is, therefore, the best way to ensure your skin is completely rejuvenated in time for the holiday season.

 4. You’ll Banish Breakouts

Fall is officially breakout season: During early autumn, our skin continues to produce excess oil, just like it does over the summer months. At the same time, the sudden influx of cooler air causes dryness and irritation. This leads to the development of breakout-prone “combination skin” that doesn’t respond well to topical treatments. Laser treatments, on the other hand, can control even severe breakouts by dissolving dead skin cells, opening the pores, and reducing the number of harmful bacteria on the skin. These treatments can also smooth out acne scars and tame redness and inflammation.

Autumn is already well underway, so if you want to enjoy these benefits, you should act soon: Contact the skincare experts at PSSF to book your laser treatment today.

Press Reset on Your Skin with a Chemical Peel

In a world where skin rejuvenation treatments have become both numerous and complex, the traditional chemical peel is still the preferred choice for many patients. Not only does the chemical peel have a proven track record, it’s uniquely efficient: A single deep peel can prompt dramatic overall rejuvenation. By contrast, most lasers and abrasive devices must be administered several times to create similar results. If you want to press “reset” on your skin in time for Halloween, a chemical peel might be exactly what you’re looking for.

How Do Chemical Peels Work?

Some people are intimidated by the term “chemical peel,” imagining that this procedure involves the use of harsh solvents. Fortunately, this isn’t the case; chemical peels actually use natural, organic acids to gently break down the uppermost layer of the skin. Some chemical peels are made up of lactic acid, for example, the compound that gives sour milk its bitter flavor. Others are comprised of salicylic acid (derived from willow bark) or glycolic acid, which occurs in a number of sucrose-rich plants.

The peeling process is beneficial for skin health in several different ways: First, it exfoliates the pores, dissolving debris that’s become lodged deep within hair follicles and killing bacteria. The acids then slowly remove damaged and discolored skin cells by causing the most superficial layer of the skin to flake off. Finally, while producing a new layer of healthy skin cells (to replace the dead layer that’s been peeled off), the body increases collagen production. This causes some of the most significant anti-aging effects associated with chemical peels: Collagen makes our skin both stronger and firmer, so collagen stimulation can tighten areas of loose skin and smooth away wrinkles. In fact, collagen depletion is responsible for most of the visible signs of aging. (Collagen production gradually decreases after age 30.)

What Conditions Can Chemical Peels Treat?

Chemical peels are used to decrease the frequency and severity of acne breakouts in younger patients. Salicylic acid (BHA) peels are extremely effective when used for this purpose. In fact, research has shown that BHA peels are more adept at fighting acne than any other leading skin rejuvenation treatment. Chemical peels can also be used to minimize the appearance of acne scars.

In more mature patients, chemical peels are used to erase fine lines and wrinkles while improving the skin’s overall firmness and elasticity. They’re also great for treating signs of sun damage, such as areas of thickened, leathery skin and sun spots. Deeper chemical peels can even get rid of spider veins and reduce the redness associated with rosacea. At PSSF, we often use chemical peel therapy on patients who have had facelift surgery. Chemical peels can reverse the superficial signs of aging, while facelift surgery tackles any underlying structural issues.

Administering a chemical peel safely requires a great deal of skill and knowledge. Your plastic surgeon must be able to choose the right strength of peel to meet your needs, without causing you any unexpected discomfort. For this reason, it’s important to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist to administer your chemical peel. Contacting the experts at PSSF to arrange a chemical peel consultation will ensure that your skin rejuvenation journey is stress-free, from beginning to end.

 

Why is Fall Facelift Season?

Autumn offers many things to look forward to: Cooler days, the scent of frost in the morning, ripe pumpkins, and cozy socks and sweaters. For those interested in having facelift surgery, fall has the added advantage of providing a convenient, comfortable recovery period.

3 Reasons Why Fall is a Great Time to Have a Facelift

1. Finding recovery time is easier between September and November.

Most Americans feel like they’re busy almost all year long, and for good reason: Between summer and winter holidays, spring break, and peak times at work, finding time for rest and relaxation often proves challenging. Fortunately, for parents, in particular, fall provides something of a reprieve from constant activity. After September, any children you have will be back at school, making childcare help a bit easier to arrange. (You’ll need someone to assist you at home for a couple of days after you have a facelift.) At the same time, both your child’s school and your workplace will be in a post-vacation lull.

Keep in mind that many patients prefer to take one to two weeks off work if they’re having a full facelift. Facelift recovery isn’t usually uncomfortable (as long as patients consume soft foods and take their pain medication on schedule), but some patients experience redness and swelling that lasts from 10 to 14 days. For aesthetic reasons, you might want to remain at home until the signs of facial swelling completely subside. (Note that the recovery time required after a mini facelift is typically much shorter. Most patients return to work just seven days after having a mini facelift.)

3. Covering incisions is easier during the cooler months.

Facelift incisions are usually made along the hairline and around the ears so that visible scarring is greatly reduced. Still, patients need to take certain precautions in order to ensure that their scars fade away over time. Foremost among these precautions is avoiding direct sun exposure: Sun damage is the number one cause of thickened, darkened, and raised scar tissue.

For best results, you should keep your face protected any time you go outdoors, even on cloudy days. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and a medical grade sunscreen with a high SPF value. (You may also want to wear a scarf, both for added protection and to hide any facial swelling you’re experiencing.) You should make sure to limit your sun exposure as long as your incisions are pink. Incisions are still vulnerable to sun damage for several weeks after they have closed up.

3. Having surgery in the fall will help you prepare for the holidays.

Facelift surgery can take up to three months to completely “settle,” but most of this process is completed within six weeks post-surgery. As such, if you have a facelift in September, you can rest assured that you’ll look completely revitalized by the time the winter holidays arrive.

Autumn is already on our doorstep, so if you’d like to have facelift surgery this year, you should act quickly. To begin your personal transformation, contact Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg either online or via the telephone at (540) 371-7730. If you’re a resident of Virginia, we’ll be happy to help you achieve the youthful, graceful results you deserve.